Recently, my twin sister told me I was a money hoarder. She said this because I’ve been (trying) to save almost all of my paycheck. I rarely buy new clothes and I’d rather eat at home then go out. I’ve been living at home since I graduated college and I really want to use this time in my life when I have almost no expenses to save money.
My sister, on the other-hand, has an opposing view. Since we have relatively few expenses from living at home, she doesn’t see a problem with spending the majority of her paycheck every week. This made me realize that my spending and saving habits are a lot different than that of my friends.
Should you be frugal in your 20s?
My friends tend to spend their money more freely than I do. Most of my friends make more money than me, but have fewer dollars in their savings. Many of us went to state schools so we’re lucky enough to have relatively few (or no) college loans. Our opinions about what this means tend to differ.
My Friends Views on Saving
Weekend Spending – Weekend spending is not something to worry about. If you want to have fun then you have to spend money so just let loose and spend. While my friends do try to pick more inexpensive places to go out to eat or have drinks, it’s a rare weekend that they stay in.
Clothes – My sister spends the majority of her paycheck every week on clothes. She loves shopping and will spend as much as $300 a month on clothing. This seems crazy to me but I can’t say I mind when she comes home with beautiful clothes that she lets me wear.
Travel – My friends like to travel, mostly on ski-vacations and within the region. A bunch of my friends are planning a trip to New Orleans for Mardi Gras. My friends don’t really worry about the price as they focus on how much fun the experience will be. Being frugal isn’t really a concern.
Bank Account Worries – They don’t have them. Basically, since the majority of my friends live at home (so no worries about groceries or rent) they don’t see the problem with spending until their bank account is really low. Having less than $100 on the day before their next paycheck is not rare.
My Views On Saving
Weekend Spending – I hate to spend more than $50-$100 a weekend. I don’t think it’s necessary to spend more than that to go out and have fun. This is something that my friends don’t understand as they feel I’m being too stingy.
Clothes – I don’t buy clothes very frequently. I have to say this is partially due to the fact that my twin sister buys so many. I really don’t have to spend money on clothes because we’re the same size and she lets me borrow hers. Still, even if I couldn’t borrow her clothes, I would be less inclined to go shopping. I only go to the mall when I know I have money to spend so I don’t buy things I don’t need (even if I may want them).
Travel – I love to travel and I do tend to spend the majority of my savings on trips. I have gone to Costa Rica and really want to travel abroad to other countries. At this point in my life, I think that investing in experiences is more important than clothes, entertainment, or other material items.
Bank Account Worries – As little as a few weeks ago I had saved $3,000 of my $5,000 goal to travel to Europe. Unfortunately, in the last few weeks I totally blew through my bank account! I had three friends’ birthday parties to attend that included staying in hotels, buying gifts, as well as going out to dinners, and to clubs. I spent almost half of my savings and now only have $1,600 in my bank account. I refuse to ever have less than $1,000 in my bank account because this is my emergency fund. The fact that I spent so much money seriously stresses me out but my friends say I should be happy I’ve saved as much as I have.
My friends and sister believe that now is the time to have fun since we don’t have any “real” responsibilities. We don’t have children, car payments, insurance bills, or any real debt. Even though I see their point, I’m still very focused on saving my money. I want to make sure that if there is a problem I can cover it or if there is an opportunity I really want to explore, I can. So who’s right?
Jen Y says
I think when you’re single & the only one accountable for your money it’s your choice. You & your friends have different opinions – you say your friends over spend & they say you hoard because your goals are different. We each choose our goals & live to reach them. From my perspective I think even you spend more than I would ($50 – $100 a weekend? – that’s at least a month of fun money for me) but does that mean you’re a spend thrift? I think you make your goals & work toward them & let your friends do the same. Don’t let their goals that are very different from yours, keep you from meeting the ones you’ve made.
Just because I’ve lived longer (I’m 47) I think I can guess that you will be happier in the long run with your goals than your friends – they need to be totally on their own to really see the foolishness of their goals. But their opinion really doesn’t matter when it comes to meeting your own goals. Basically I haven’t answered your question, I just want to encourage you to stick with your goal & don’t let their spending ideas slow your down.
Dacia Daly says
Hi Jen! I think it’s harder to save because my friends tend to spend a lot of money when they go out which makes it hard when you’re on a budget. The problem is that when I don’t go out with my friends I feel like I’m missing out. I agree that $50-$100 a weekend is still a lot of money! I try never to spend more than that a weekend and I have to admit that I struggle with it. I think reminding myself that I’m saving money for a good reason will help me get over feeling conflicted about staying in. Thanks for the advice!
Michelle Ventresca says
You are the wise one, and after all is said and done, you will be comfortable, with your goals met, and they’ll still be struggling, trying to save money! You know what you want, you know how to get it, and let’s face it, we all stumble and fall once in a while….You’ll get that savings account back up there where it belongs!
Dacia Daly says
Hi Michelle! Thanks for the words of encouragement! After that stumble I’ve felt a little down but I know that I can work hard and save the money again. It’s too late to do anything but keep saving. Wish me luck! 🙂
Lisa W says
Keep doing what is right for you. I have a friend who is in her 40’s and guess what? She is still acting like she’s in her 20’s. She doesn’t have any savings and keeps buying more clothes, designer purses and stuff. The higher her salary, the more she spends. You are laying great groundwork for your future. Having fun and saving money are both attainable at the same time!!!
Dacia Daly says
Lisa, I love that anecdote about your friend. It made me realize that everyone has separate views on saving money. I agree that saving money and having fun are both attainable. I definitely would not say that I’ve perfected it yet but I think I’m starting to get the hang of staying on budget while going out. Thanks for sharing!
You are the wise one – stick to your goals. It’s OK to ease up now and then but you won’t come back from your trip with $5000 in credit card debt and feeling rotten about your choice.
You are the one who will avoid having to make major car payments and will probably be able to buy a house long before your sister or friends could (unless they have outside help). You are the one who will be comfortable living in an economic downturn and you will be able to retire at an earlier age without worrying.
I was always more of a saver so my nest egg helped me through rough times.
Dacia Daly says
Hi Myke! Thanks for the encouraging words. I only have one credit card with a very low limit and only use it for necessities. I think that anything “extra”‘ should be bought only if I can pay for it in cash. I don’t always make the right choices but i’m trying hard to save and I believe that this won’t be something I regret. It’s always good to have savings to fall back on during tough times!
I think being frugal is a good thing. I’m in college and saving money is very important nowadays, no matter what age!! 🙂
Dacia Daly says
Hi Cassandra! It’s so nice to hear that someone my age is also focused on saving money. I also agree that saving money is important for everyone. Do you have any friends that think you’re too frugal?
I am exactly like you!! Except today, i’m 38, own 5 properties, have shares, stocks, annuities etc. I battle to spend anything on myself and don’t want children as I view them as unnecessary expenses (and other kazillion reasons). I’m a complete money hoarder – I admit its probably a disorder of some kind, but I like it here and don’t want to change or let my guard down. I have one goal i’m working for and that’s financial independence before 50! My twin sister has 3 children, no savings, massive amounts of debt and will never get ahead, but to her, her children are her happy space. Who is right and who is wrong? Not one I think, to each his own. 🙂